August Moodboard

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These summer months just fly by don’t they?! We’re pretty excited about August because we’ll be meeting up with our closest friends for our annual Old Lyme long weekend away (last seen here & here).

August to us is fun, quirky, and full of ice cream, tacos and cocktails, hehe. Our moodboard is full of bold, bright statement images and we’re trying to live similarly – bold & bright 😉


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Happy Weekend!

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Hola, loves! It’s Friday again, how wonderful is that?? We’re definitely ready for some weekend hang time after a bit of a stressful week. It’s looking like a weekend of family time for each of us, with Christa having visiting relatives from Cali, and Reg seeing her rents for lunch and putzing in the North End on Saturday.

What’re you all up to? Hope it’s a good one, see ya on Monday!


cct // I recently discovered the awesome gal-pal traveling duo, Local Wanderer, and I am obsessed! They share some wonderful new business insight on Design*Sponge!

rkv // Hoops are coming back and I’m digging these dainty little dudes

cct // I love good book recommendations, and these all sound wonderful!

rkv // Are you just living for the weekend?

cct // Love pom-poms, love DIYs…love this pop-pom curtain DIY 🙂

rkv // What’s your sign’s signature cocktail?

cct // I’d really like to go to England someday, and this little post about How to Know If You’re in a Legit English Pub is pretty great! There’s something so much more fun about being in an authentic restaurant or bar when you’re traveling abroad. I hate the touristy trap places!

rkv // A beautiful photo series melding old & new

Artist Profile // Xiaotong Duan

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This morning we’re thrilled to feature one of our closest friends and talented artist, Xiao. Ceramicist, photographer, and just all over awesome person, this little lady is making some beautiful work, and we knew we just had to share it with you all.

Xiao and I (Reg) go way back to college, where our soul-sister-ship blossomed over a bowl of pesto tortellini while watching Saved! in her massive wrap-around porch home in rural Coventry, CT. The first of many movies and meals we were bound to share together, the two of us soon became roomies, and now both live in the Boston area.

This little dumpling’s ceramics have been blowing up all over the Etsy stratosphere and the local Boston scene, she’s had a recent pop-up shop at West Elm, and she just re-launched her brand through a newly updated website and logo (which Christa got to design!).

Check out Xiao Crafted and her Etsy page to see some more of her stunning handmade custom pieces.


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You went to school for photography, did you take ceramics classes throughout college as well? Or was that something you got into after?
It’s totally interesting to compare the journey we take through learning and what our lil’ paper degree says. I got into ceramics in college a little late in the game or else I think I probably would have focused on ceramics. My good friend/ex-roommate took a ceramics class and she would bring back to the apartment all the cool things she made. I enrolled the following semester because I also wanted to make cool things.

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Obviously you love the animals. A lot of your chosen animals aren’t just your average woodland creature – you have everything from praying mantis to big mouth bass, where do you get your inspiration for some of the quirkier ones?
Honestly? Mostly from Nat Geo’s Instagram. I love the way they tend to tell a story alongside each image, it totally activates my inner naturalist. There’s just so many interesting species that I really like to explore beyond the more commonly know creatures. Like did you know that sometimes fruit bats are called flying foxes?

How long does it usually take to create one piece from beginning to end?
Oh man, I have no idea. If I had to guess i would say 10 days if the stars aligned perfectly. Clay requires a lot of patience because there is just a ton of steps involved in its journey from this squishy formless ball to something functional and beautiful. Usually I throw a batch of work on the wheel and then let it set up so that I can trim it within a couple of days. After that, everything is hand painted and left out to dry completely before entering the first kiln firing, called  a bisque. It takes a full day for everything to “cook” in the kiln so that it is solid and porous enough for the glaze. Then I take a day to glaze my work and then back into the kiln it goes for the final firing. The glaze kiln runs for a full day as well. Long story short, if this was a race, ceramics would be going at a slow and steady pace.
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So ceramics can be a pretty time consuming craft (pun intended), any scheduling tips for someone looking to take on a new art?
Just be patient. Ceramics will never provide “instant gratification” but it is an awesome feeling to take a lil’ lump of clay and make something out of it. For people starting out it’s actually a really good 1x/week kind of craft because how the background time involved with letting work set up and firing in the kiln. Just be warned, you may get addicted and just be constantly making cool stuff!
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What are some of your favorite shapes to throw? Anything that is still a tough one you’re trying to tackle?
Recently i’ve really gotten into making planters. Just in time for Spring! The forms are really simple but I love trimming lil’ feet on the bottom to give it a little height and negative space. I don’t really make a lot of tea pots because there are so many parts and spouts are always so challenging. Definitely something I strive to work on.
We noticed that you started taking on custom work, have any of these projects sparked an idea for a new line, or new piece? Or do you try to keep them separate?
My custom work totally inspires me! It helps me explore new themes and surface treatment methods for clay. Recently I did a platter that had my first human being. It was a cowboy on a horse set to the backdrop of the American West. I really loved integrating a background and foreground visual and I’ve created some new work that follows the framework from that original custom order.
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What was the first ceramic you ever made?
It was large hand built candle holder in the shape of a star with little moons cut out on each arm of the star. So cheesy. I see it every time I visit my parents and wish that the cat was strong enough to knock it off the end table.
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Who are some of your artist inspirations?
Ayumi Horie, Chotsani Dean, Diana Fayt, Polly Fern, Molly Hatch, Julia Rothman. Lady creators represent!
You recently had a popup shop at West Elm (congrats, btw!), do you have any other goals or dreams you’re reaching for with your work?
This year I’ve really been trying to make the push to establish myself as a small business artist. (Eeep!) I’ve been doing a lot more pop up shops and sharing my work with the people. I’m hoping to just continue to develop my work and continue to add to my portfolio. I would like to do some residencies and be able to continue to explore the medium.
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Go to late-night junk food?
Grillo’s Pickles
Night owl or morning bird?
Morning bird

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Happy Weekend!

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Well, it was a short week, but it sure didn’t feel like it! Reg has been tackling her move into the new place (yay!), and Christa has had a lot of exciting Connecticut Art Directors Club things going on this week and weekend. We’re just excited for a couple days off from work to tackle house projects, hang with friends and take it easy.

Btw- how was everyones Memorial Day?? This was one of the first years we both didn’t attend any sort of big bash or BBQ, but as you might have been able to catch — we’re crazy busy, so we didn’t mind!

cct // My Oma brought Curtis and I some purple basil for an apartment warming present and I’ve been searching for some fun recipes to use this unique looking herb! This Purple Basil Pesto looks damn good, especially on the bruschetta!

rkv // I’m not generally a heels girl, but I’m kind of obsessed with these

cct // This lady has got style – love her Free People profile

rkv // I’m sorry, what? Spicy chocolate-covered tortilla chips. Yep.

cct // Have you guys heard of reverse washing? It’s when you use conditioner first, and then shampoo – strange right?! This super informative article has got me very excited to give it a shot!

rkv // Some good tips on how to shop like an interior designer

cct // Our friend Tara (last mentioned here in her artist profile), has been posting photo diaries from her European travels, and we are now crushing hard on Dingle, Ireland ❤

rkv// 20+ animal bellies that need to be rubbed right now

Five Ways to Make Your New Place Feel Like Home

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As we’ve been mentioning, Christa and Curtis just moved into a new place, and Reg and her roomies will be relocating at the beginning of June. There are some seriously exciting and NOT exciting parts of moving, but the biggest challenge will be making your new place feel like home. To help, we’ve gathered some tips that will definitely be useful in our nesting process.

 

01. Get cookin’

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Before we get started here — how good does this look?? This will be made on our end in the very near future (find the link below!). Ok now, back to business.

One thing that’s sure to make your place feel like your own is to get that kitchen fired up. It may be the furthest thing from your mind when your stuff is all a jumble, but eating take-out for two weeks straight is not going to help your well-being, or your wallet. Once you’re done with your move, start unpacking that kitchen pronto. You don’t have to make beef burgundy or anything, just a simple 20-minute-meal will do. It’ll help you get a sense of the new storage, so you can make things more efficient over time. You can also get a sense of what your new place is missing, so you can get a list going of what to pick up next time you’re home shopping.

 

02. Figuring out the right fit for your furniture

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When Curtis and I moved into our new place we couldn’t wait to see all of our beloved furniture in the open space – we wanted to change the positioning and order of our living room, try new pictures on the wall, reinvent our rooms. And what happened was just that. BUT not exactly on our terms. Our living room is oddly shaped, and we can’t use most of the furniture we originally had in there. At first I was bummed and was trying really hard to fit these pieces in, but now I’ve accepted that those items have to live somewhere else. In our case that doesn’t mean we have to get rid of it (we have other rooms to transfer them to), but in some cases, letting go of the items might be the right thing to do.

If you’re planning on staying somewhere for a while, and a piece of furniture you love doesn’t have a home in your new space but you couldn’t possibly give it away, see if someone you love can make use of it, or rent a storage unit — but think hard on these pieces and try to let go if they’re not right for your new home. Think of the joy someone at goodwill (or on craigslist) will have when they stumble upon your awesome piece.

 

03. Find all items a real home

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While this photo above is beautiful and those paintings are clearly living there, if that isn’t your style and you’re just propping them up until you find the time, or the energy, or the man-power to put them up, find whatever you need and get the deed done. Your place will feel like a real home once you arrange your favorite pieces exactly where you want them! And even if you put it in a spot and then change your mind, that’s ok – how would you know it’s not the right place until you try? Get the boxes out of the way, find homes for those random piles you’ve got laying around, and start gettin’ things organized!

 

04. Freshen up

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Let’s be real, there’s nothing grosser than a former tenant’s dust and crumbs. This past week Reg and her roommates were doing a sweep of their new place before they officially move in so they can see what needs to be done beforehand. They opened the fridge, kitchen cabinets, etc… and let’s just say it wasn’t pretty. One major way to make your place feel like your own is to give that bad boy a good scrubbing. If your landlord lets you, try to get in a day or two early to throw some elbow grease into it. Clean the baseboards, windows (and their sills!), bathtub, toilet, the works. Hardwood floors? Polish them! Carpet? Rent a carpet cleaner! This will make things feel so much nicer once you start to bring all of your furniture in.

Once you’re settled, keep the momentum going! Get some potted herbs for your kitchen window, hang some plants in the living room, and put some flowers in the entry way. One of our favorite tricks is to simmer some citrus peels and spices over the stovetop. It’ll make your place smell so fresh. *A nice springy option is lemon rinds and rosemary.

 

05. Start exploring your new neighborhood & community 

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While this chunk of advice doesn’t have anything to do with decorating (boo), it is an important part of a move. Start exploring your new neighborhood, take walks around the block, find a new jogging route – once you’ve become more familiar with your new area, you’ll start to feel at home in your new place. If you move into an apartment building, start paying attention to familiar faces, or if you’ve moved into a split family house, chat with your neighbor whenever you both have a minute. The more comfortable you are in your new zone, the sooner your new apartment or house will feel like home!

 

What do you guys like to do to make your home cozy? Let us know!

 

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Happy Weekend!

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Is it really Friday already? Not that we’re complaining, but man did this week fly by. Busy bees I guess! I moved into my new place, and Reg is getting into moving mode herself. This weekend is Cinco De Mayo weekend AND the Kentucky Derby, are you attending any parties? Drink a delicious mint julep or margarita, on us!

cct // So emo lol – 23 Perfect Words for Emotions You Never Realized Anyone Else Felt 

rkv // Since we’ll be losing some storage space in our new apartment, my roommates and I keene on the idea of finding an inexpensive way to mount our bikes on the wall

cct // Now with more space in the new apartment, I want more greenery in my life! This mason jar herb garden DIY is the perfect start!

rkv // So true — behind the scenes of vingette styling

cct // Are you throwing out perfectly good food?

rkv // A simple & pretty way to jazz your nails up this spring

cct // Matcha is trending hardcore right now, have you tried it? I’ve been seeing a lot of recipes for popsicles, smoothies & lattes!

rkv // Hilary Duff is on Tinder. Why, not? Take a crazy chance.

Iphone Cases

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While we anxiously await the new iphone, there are still a few of us who can’t afford to immediately jump on the preorder wagon. In the mean time, we’ll be doing just fine with our 5’s & 5C’s, fancied up with some fun cases like these…

wooden star chart // classic leopard // sleek marble skin // lace white overlay // pansies print // graphic triangles

Etsy Round Up // Vol 10

As usual, the color scheme of these Etsy Round Up’s tend to fit with the season (accidentally!), and since we’re nearing the end of summer, my items have a little less color to them. But don’t worry, they’re just as exciting and fun as items with more vibrancy! I can definitely say I was on a vintage kick with this round up…

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This necklace is so gorgeous!

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Also you might have noticed it happened to be a little school theme (oops!), I’m just happy I’m not heading back to school…

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Happy Weekend!

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Happy Friday, friends! How is everyone liking this cooler New England weather? I think it’s pretty great! Reg is hanging with fam today, and I’m excited to head to the New Britain Museum of American Art‘s summer party tonight – Museum After Dark. Doing anything fun this weekend? xo G&M

cct // We’ve been big fans of KT Smail’s artwork for awhile now, and she just opened up a new shop – make sure to check it out!

rkv // Oh Joy’s fall line is so adorable

cct // Learn to relax a bit! 

rkv // It was tomato week at The Kitchn, and this stuffed tomato recipe looks like some surrious savory goodness

cct // How to cook like you’re in Europe, yes please! 

rkv // How to leave a party – goodbye vs ghost

cct // The Everygirl does it again, this article about fueling confidence in the workplace is so important to me! Be confident girls – get what you want and be happy!

rkv // 14 fruit hacks